Monday, 24 March 2014

Hallin Fell & Martindale – 23 March

After yesterday’s adventures in the snow my knee wanted a much easier day or a rest day but the sunshine was enough to tempt us to stroll over Hallin Fell after a look at Martindale Church.

20140323-1-penruddock-30-Edit-2Looking south towards High Street

20140323-4-penruddock-82-EditLooking north east along Ullswater

20140323-5-penruddock-86-EditLooking south from Hallin Fell towards High Street

20140323-6-penruddock-119-EditLooking south west from Hallin Fell towards High Street

20140323-3-penruddock-46-EditMartindale Church

20140323-2-penruddock-42-EditMartindale Church

Buttermere – 22 March

Overnight at Penruddock before meeting in Buttermere for a walk over the Buttermere Fells with The Rucksack Club coming back over Dale Head and Grasmoor, if there is time. At low levels there had been a sprinkling of snow and high white hills could be seen in the distance.

20140322-penruddock-111-Edit1Towards the Mell Fells from Penruddock (1)


20140322-penruddock-114-Edit2Towards the Mell Fells from Penruddock (2)

20140322-penruddock-131-Edit3From below Red Pike looking over Buttermere to the Grasmoor fells

20140322-penruddock-132-Edit4After warming up on the climb out of Buttermere a stop was need to remove extra layers

20140322-penruddock-138-Edit5Grasmoor with Crummock Water in the distance

20140322-penruddock-141-Edit6Buttermere and the Grasmoor fells

Before we reached the tarn the sunny intervals had been replaced by heavy snow and the visibility reduced to “not very much”. The extra layers previously shed were pulled back on for the final stretch to the summit of Red Pike. The blizzard awaiting us alternated between snow and hailstones and the wind although never quite reaching the speed forecast was still strong enough to create thigh deep drifts. The ‘stroll’ along the ridge to Haystacks was more of a struggle and not always pleasant but by Scarth Gap the worst had blown through.


20140322-penruddock-144-Edit7Looking down into Buttermere

20140322-penruddock-154-Edit8The Buttermere Fells

20140322-penruddock-156-Edit9Jean, the Meet Organiser, and others at Honister Pass

A small, fast group left Honister Pass ahead of the rest of us with view to continuing over Grasmoor before meeting the main party in Buttermere. The going had been slower than expected all day and it wasn’t improving much although the weather was. Eventually it became obvious that reaching Grasmoor was going to make it a very long day indeed and the two groups met up just before Robinson to descend into Buttermere together.


20140322-penruddock-160-Edit10On the way up Dale Head

20140322-penruddock-173-Edit11Approaching Dale Head summit

20140322-penruddock-176-Edit13Dale Head summit

20140322-penruddock-175-Edit12Leaving Dale Head summit


20140322-penruddock-180-Edit15Towards Catbells with Blencathra in the far distance

20140322-penruddock-199-Edit17Descending from Robinson

20140322-penruddock-209-Edit18The Grasmoor fells


20140322-penruddock-210-Edit19Descending to Buttermere

20140322-penruddock-21120A very welcome and hard earned beer to finish off the day

Huge thanks to Jean for a very memorable day on the hills.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Haworth Hobble – 15 March

After the soaring highs of the High Peak Marathon the Haworth Hobble involved plumbing new depths. The more Hobbles I do, the worse I seem to do them. This was my 8th (nothing compared to 1st V60, Tony Wimbush who left me for dead, and I nearly was, at Stoodley Pike as he went on to complete his 33rd Hobble) and this time I remembered to eat and drink enough, unlike some previous years.

I endeavoured to repeat my 2012 plan of heading off slowly into the headwind and then working through the field as the race went on. To an extent I did manage this – I headed off slowly into the headwind and started working my way through the field but without taking into account that Stoodely Pike, where I pretty much ran out of energy, isn’t the finish of the race. I summary, I had a pretty good 20 mile run and a really horrible 13 mile hobble back to Haworth. There is always next year ……


20140315-1-hobble-2-EditAlbert, Josie & Mike enjoying the aftermath

Huge thanks to Brett and everyone else involved in making the 2014 Haworth Hobble happen

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Fair Snape Fell – 08 March

With an armful of plans and a weather forecast that promised sunshine after midday we headed up over Parlick Fell for Fair Snape Fell and the first of the day’s Trig Point. Regrettably, the low clouds hung around to make navigation more of a challenge, too much of a challenge in fact. I tried to cut a corner going north and we soon found ourselves on very rough ground and, to all intents and purposes, lost. In zero visibility and a bitterly cold wind we decided to work our way back to Fair Snape Fell and come back on a clear day.

By the time we were about half way between Fair Snape Fell and Parlick Fell the sun put in an appearance and the clouds started to lift which tempted us to turn round and have another go. In the event, beyond Fair Snape the going gets rougher and slower. With some reluctance we were forced to conclude that more time than we had would be needed to get to Hazelhurst Fell and back. So we ended up with Parlick x 2, Fair Snape x 4 and a highly enjoyable outing.


20140308-2-FairSnapeFell-4-EditFair Snape Fell in the morning’s low cloud

20140308-3-FairSnapeFell-7-EditFair Snape Fell later in the day

20140308-1-FairSnapeFell-6-EditCoffee in the summit shelter

20140308-4-FairSnapeFell-9-EditFair Snape Fell

20140308-5-FairSnapeFell-12-EditFair Snape Fell from Parlick Fell

Sunday, 2 March 2014

High Peak Marathon – 28 February

Not your ordinary Marathon but an overnight race for teams of four and owing to an injury to another Bowland runner I was a late replacement in Yiannis’s “Bowland Vets” team.

This is how the organisers describe it -

The High Peak Marathon is an over-night mountain marathon for teams of four, following a route based on the Derwent Watershed, starting and finishing at Edale Village Hall, Derbyshire. The classic 40 mile bog-trot around the wildest part of the Peak District was first completed in 1918 by Eustace Thomas of Manchester's Rucksack Club. The event is independently organised and run by Members of the University of Sheffield High Peak Club, past and present, and is fully insured and affiliated through the Fell Runners Association.
The basis of the annual event as it exists today was conceived in 1972 by members of Sheffield University's Youth Hostel Society whose definition of a good night out was sometimes quite different from most of their fellow students. The High Peak Marathon is their idea of a challenge. Take the Peak's longest, toughest route and see who can complete it at night in winter. It is still organised by past and present members of what is now called The High Peak Club. A unique feature of the event is being greeted by a couple of cheerful students at every checkpoint.

The atmosphere before all races can be a little tense but before the HPM it is quite extraordinary. The staggered start means the first team starting at 23:00 and the others following at one minute intervals so that the tension is stretched to the maximum. Last year’s near perfect conditions are unlikely to be repeated for some years but this a cold clear night with sub-zero temperatures ensured conditions that only the top navigators (who wanted low, thick cloud cover) could complain about.

20140228-1-hpm-1Trying to relax before the final preparations

20140228-2-hpm-3Private preparations

20140228-3-hpm-5Ready to go

20140228-4-hpm-7Almost ready to go

This is a difficult enough race but a slight misunderstanding on Win Hill meant we lost almost an hour between there and High Neb so that we were last there and at the Moscar checkpoint by a very considerable margin, perhaps 30 minutes. Yannis’s flawless navigation and indefatigable efforts be Leigh and Neil meant about a third of the field were behind us by the breakfast stop at Snake Road Top. By the finish we were 22nd of 36 finishers and 41 starters. Complete results are here.

The Vet Teams are placed according to an Age Handicap system which meant we were the “Oldest Team” in the race and although one Vet team had faster handicap time they also were outright winners which meant we were awarded the First Vet Team and with it The Rucksack Club Trophy. I have to say a huge personal thanks to Yiannis for the opportunity as well as his navigation and to Leigh and Neil for the way they looked after me throughout.


20140301-5-hpm-9Meangirls (1)

20140301-6-hpm-11Meangirls (2)


20140301-8-hpm-15Bowland Vets – self, Leigh, Neil, Yiannis

20140301-9-hpm-109-EditThe Rucksack Club Trophy

20140301-10-hpm-115-EditHigh Peak Marathon engraved tankard

Enormous thanks are due to Richard Bradbury and his team of helpers for the 2014 High Peak Marathon

Thanks to you all!